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Web-savvy consumers still value personal advice, study shows

Consumers may research life insurance online but they still want to speak to an adviser before buying a policy, according to research by Asteron Life.

Its report says nine in 10 consumers think life products are complex, resulting in 65% using an adviser.

It also reveals a broad generational divide. Generation X consumers are more likely to have life insurance greater than $1 million, with many entering their 40s and having increased financial risks.

Baby Boomers are “very regular users” of financial advisers, primarily because of their life stage and need to plan for retirement.

Only 21% of Generation Y consumers see a financial adviser regularly, but they are generally considered early adopters, giving advisers an opportunity to establish relationships.

People aged 40-plus consider life insurance important and are more knowledgeable about it.

They also experience more “emotional reward” from insurance, with 46% saying life cover gives them peace of mind.

Asteron Life EM Mark Vilo says the research shows consumers still want advice on life insurance, despite online offerings.

But he says advisers should be online, to help consumers to find them.

“It’s essential for advisers to have an online presence and be seen where consumers are researching,” he said.

“By factoring this into an adviser’s business strategy and the way they provide their service, the adviser can use the power of the internet to help grow their business.”

Consumers who use advisers have considerable trust in the service they receive, the research shows. About 44% of clients would like regular contact with their advisers.

“Consumers are advisers’ strongest advocates to people because they can talk about the value of insurance,” Mr Vilo said. “With fewer than half of Australians regularly seeing an adviser, there is a huge potential market yet to be explored.”

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